Lush, green mountains; turquoise oceans; vibrant candy-colored houses; crystal-clear waterfalls; fiery orange sunsets…these are all colors of the Caribbean. The colors that make up the awe-inspiring views that can be seen throughout the islands every day – but if there is no one there to see it, taste it, hear it and experience it, it won’t thrive.
There is a misconception that the whole Caribbean, all 7,000 islands making up 28 distinct nations, has been sidelined by the recent hurricanes. One of the most important stories to be told is how far this is from the truth. People need to be told not to cancel their plans, not to postpone their trips and not to hesitate to travel here. The Caribbean is open.
By painting the region with one brush and assuming all of the Caribbean was affected harms the islands that are healthy. Combat that message. The best thing people can do for the Caribbean is continue to visit. While some islands do re-build, exploring one of the many islands ready and eager to welcome guests is an important and impactful way to give back.
Many continue to wonder how they can help the ongoing recovery efforts in the Caribbean and what more they can do. There are a variety of ways to donate money to organizations that put the funds to use where it’s needed most. There are companies, large and small, collecting donations of goods – water, bedding, clothing, hygiene items, formula, diapers – for those in need. Things many of us take for granted, yet what many in the region now seek.
These are important and worthy ways to make a difference and contribute to those islands that are facing major recovery, and we urge people to continue in these efforts. And those islands, including Puerto Rico, with its colorful history and culture, and the USVIs, offering some of the region’s most beautiful beaches, are filled with people of strength and character. They will work tirelessly until their homes, communities and islands rise and regain their full brilliance. And once they get back to the amazing destinations they are, visitors will find their smiles haven’t faded and their arms remain open, because that is the warm and welcoming nature of the Caribbean.
But in order to feel or maintain a sense of normalcy across the region, communities need tourism. They need visitors to come and spend locally to support the people and economies. Tourism feeds the livelihoods of so many island residents and is essential to achieving a full recovery. So go. Book your winter vacation to the Caribbean. And then tell your friends about it so they will go. It is what the region needs right now. And it will bounce back, stronger than ever, and endlessly willing and ready to offer you a treasure trove of experiences.
Beyond its beautiful beaches and warm hospitality, the Caribbean is rich in history, culture, sport, art, rhythms, and culinary traditions. From vibrant Carnival celebrations to quieter locales with lush rainforests, there are options for all types of vacationers.
Relax on a private beach in Grand Cayman, take an off-road jeep to explore the volcanic side of Aruba, snorkel the pristine waters of Bonaire or lay poolside in the Bahamas. Indulge in the experiences that are very much still available throughout the dynamic Caribbean islands.
The teams at Marriott International’s 47 open hotels and resorts in the region are welcoming guests with warm smiles, and associates are ready to help travelers create once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
So, for those who are wondering how to help, donate supplies and money when you can and volunteer where possible, but also travel. Visit and explore the beautiful part of our world that is the Caribbean, and give back.